From the first two minutes to the last two minutes, Crank delivers an escapist, adrenaline pumping, action thriller that never slows down in any way, shape or form. It's completely ridiculous, completely over the top and a complete riot. Remember Speed? It's like that, but Statham is the bus.
Chev Chelios (Statham) has woken up to find he's been injected with a poison that acts upon his adrenal gland and will eventual cause his heart to stop and he will die. If he can keep his adrenaline pumping, it slows down the poison long enough for him to take revenge upon the bad guys who did this to him. So all he has to do is load up on Red Bull, cocaine and some Snickers bars and cause as much mayhem as possible to stay alive.
The directing duo of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor is not really one of a kind, but they do show signs of serious creativity, bordering on insane genius. It's obvious these guys have little experience with big budget film making as their tactics look like creative independent film making but with bigger explosions and antics. Together with their cinematographer and editor, they try some interesting directing ideas and styles with quick, blink of the eye editing, freeze framing and a zoom lens. They have obviously been inspired by the great Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch). Some of these tactics work and some come off as schlocky; mostly the former though.
Besides the visuals, the sound department has created some surreal sound effects and developed an interesting mix of warped sonance and modulation that bring us into Chelios' warped, drug-induced and slowly disappearing world (I love that cell phone ring; I've gotta get that downloaded on my phone). Most of this actually does work pretty well when coupled with a pounding hard rock soundtrack that never stops pumping adrenaline through the audience's veins as well.
Statham in the past few years has become the action hero of the new millenium. Comparable to an early Bruce Willis but with the martial arts skills of a kung-fu master and an over-the-top persona Scarface would be envious of. Supporting cast memebers include Amy Smart as the unbelieving girlfriend, Dwight Yoakam as The Doc (my favorite side character) and Efren Ramirez (Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite) as the sidekick. Each plays their part very well and each is as entertaining as anything else on screen.
Like I said, completely preposterous, but also completely awesome. This film is obviously targeted at a very specific demographic: people who like guns, guns, blood, guns, explosions, running, hard rock music, guns, guns, swearing, violence and a few bare breasts sprinkled here and there; i.e. guys. If this is your thing, you'll have a good time. The action NEVER STOPS. From frame one to the very last frame there is blood, carnage and mayhem. It's simply a good time at the movies. The creators don't take anything too seriously and neither should you.
Despite having some very obvious weaknesses, I have to give the film a mild thumbs-up for accomplishing what it set out to do: keeping the viewer involved and in a constant state of shocked disbelief. There's a lot of sarcastic wit in much of Statham's dialogue and it has one of the best sex scenes of recent memory. The action is convincingly ridiclous, which is exactly what one looks for in an action-packed adventure such as this one. Think of it as a party version of Die Hard, with a dash of cocaine in a blender. It's mindless fun that won't warm any hearts or garner any Oscar nods, but it will definitely keep you engaged and smiling. You won't be yawning your way through this one, because if you did, you'd be dead... or at least that's what they'd have you believe is possible.
IMDb.com - full cast and crew
Official Site - includes trailer and goodies
FLIXSTER PROFILE for Crank